Everything I thought I remembered from the original Frankenstein should be in here. Let’s find out, shall we?
Why Found-Again? This is part of my push to rewatch a bunch of old horror movies, Universal and otherwise. In addition to Frankenstein and Werewolf of London, which I wrote about here, I’ve also watched the Lugosi Dracula and The Wolf Man, as well as a few less well-known titles.
The Premise: The climax of the original movie must have involved a grossly incompetent angry mob, since both the monster and Henry Frankenstein survive their windmill adventures. The friendless monster stumbles through his surroundings, rejected by all but a blind man; after getting a taste for spirits, cigars and human companionship, he runs into Henry’s old mentor Dr. Pretorius, who promises him the titular mate. It all goes as well as you’d think. (Warning: if you don’t know how the movie ends, don’t look at that. But is that even possible?)
Pretorius is to a large extent the “…and now we can start the party” character in this film. A gin-swilling, grave-robbing unrepentant weirdo with a nose that can seemingly act all on its own, he out-mad-scientists the actual Dr. Frankenstein handily, almost as an afterthought.
In a sequence near the beginning, Pretorius shows Henry a collection of tiny, indignant people he has apparently grown in bell jars, which seems to serve as this movie’s equivalent of Asta’s marital troubles in the second Thin Man movie—presumably comic relief, but to whom? It should be horrifying, but a tiny Henry VIII-style king squeaking away just…isn’t.
The Bride of Frankenstein also has one of my favorite things: an Exposition/Greek Chorus character, a meddling maid called Minnie. She turns up in the very first minutes and just keeps going, keeping people abreast of the monster’s movements and/or yelling at them to shoot it.
The Verdict: The only real thing I have against this movie is that I always hate seeing people be mean to Karloff. The monster may hate fire, but by the time Bride of Frankenstein is over, he probably doesn’t feel warmly toward sticks, chains or ropes, either.
It lags a little in some places, and some of the musical cues during the actual making of the Bride are downright odd in their cheerfulness—see the clip above—but on the whole, this is quite good. (Additionally, if any of my readers are undergrads in need of paper topics, I’ll point out that a search for “Frankenstein movies language acquisition” yields fewer Google hits than you’d think.)
Might go well with: Roast anything, but Cornish game hens would be creepy.
Next time: More desert intrigue with Jonny Quest.